Friday, November 11, 2005

Reductio ad absurdum

In another piece of utterly irresponsible journalism, the Sydney Morning Herald did its best to whip the populace into a frenzy yesterday after the dramatic shooting and arrests of scores of suspected terrorists in Sydney's west. References to 'global conflict' were a constant refrain, but as always in these types of stories in these types of times, we only got one half of one side of the story. I am not poking a bony finger here at the new anti-terrorism legislation, because but for a few obvious concerns (and the nature of its passage through parliament along with the startling acquiesence of the states) it strikes me as a fairly sound piece of legislation. My gripe here is with the media, with their complete lack of vigilance, especially when we were perhaps never more in need of a sceptical, partisan, vigilant media. This is becoming an addendum to my "if this war goes on....." post, but perhaps that's as it should be. I have, however, for no reason other than that I love his work, been reading a book about the death of Christopher Marlowe,in which the mind and motivations of the spy is picked over a great deal (Marlowe was spy in the service of Queen Elizabeth I and appears to have been murdered by Elizabeth's spies). I have been struck by many parallels between the Reformation struggles and our own times all through the book, particularly the mindless hysteria, and the utter vitriol spouted daily in government circles, but this comment particularly struck me (probably because I read it last night): "This is the reductio ad absurdum of the intelligence world: self-perpetuating, self-referring. They live in and by the confusion they create. That is really their only allegiance." (Charles Nicholl from "The Reckoning") LEST WE FORGET.

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